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Is it legal to operate a motor vehicle if you have consumed cannabis?

Region: Ontario Answer # 2551

Using cannabis does not legally prohibit a person from operating a motor vehicle unless the driver is:

1.  Impaired

Not all cannabis usage causes impairment. Cannabis contains both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC. CBD is the chemical component that does not get a user high or impair their motor or mental functions, while THC causes the mind-altering effects. Many cannabis users consume cannabis that only contains CBD or very little THC, often for medicinal purposes.

Impairment is determined through various testing methods that are done both at the roadside and at the police station. For more information, For more information, refer to How do police test for cannabis-impairment?


2.  Subject to the Zero Tolerance rule

Ontario has a zero-tolerance policy for any licensed drivers who are:

  • under the age of 21, and/or
  • novice drivers (with G1, G2, M1, or M2 licenses), and
  • commercial drivers (drivers of vehicles requiring an A-F class licence, vehicles requiring a CVOR – Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration, and road building machines)

Zero tolerance means that the driver cannot have any amount of drug or alcohol in their system. However, it is important to note that drivers who are legally authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes are exempt from Ontario’s zero tolerance drug rules for young, novice and commercial drivers.

There are penalties under both the Highway Traffic Act and the Criminal Code for these offences.

Medical cannabis use and drug impaired driving

Motorists who are legally authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes are exempt from Ontario’s zero tolerance drug rules for young, novice and commercial drivers.

However, all Criminal Code driving offences (section 320.14) will still apply. Even if you have been authorized to use cannabis by a health care professional, it is your responsibility to ensure you are not impaired while driving and that your cannabis blood level is under the prohibited limit.

What is a motor vehicle?

In Ontario, driving refers to operating and having “care or control” of any motorized vehicle, such as:

  • cars,
  • trucks,
  • boats,
  • snowmobiles,
  • motor scooter,
  • ebikes,
  • off-road vehicles etc.

To erase your criminal record for simple cannabis possession or any other criminal charges, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matter, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .

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